4 Easy Ways to Achieve Vacation-Level Relaxation Without Traveling


Vacations can be expensive — there’s the cost of travel itself, as well as lodging expenses and all the money you drop once you get where you’re going. When it’s all said and done, you could potentially spend thousands of dollars on a getaway.

But aside from emptying our wallets, vacations can help us decompress and cut back on stress. But there’s a way to enjoy the same result without having to overspend on a vacation. Here’s how you can save money by achieving epic relaxation without ever leaving your hometown.

1. Disconnect From Technology

Modern technology keeps us continuously plugged in, something many people tie to causing high stress levels. Think about it: Your boss can now email you when you’re home, and social media can constantly bombard us with information.

It can be beneficial to step away from digital communications once in a while. To help you relax, consider turning off the TV, smartphones and computer at least a few evenings a week, if you can. At the very least, you can try to remove tech from your bedroom so that you can wind down before going to sleep, as research has shown that the light from screens throws off our sleep cycles and melatonin production.

2. Establish a Zen Place

There’s a reason we go on vacations to relax. Perhaps we find it easier to unwind in a place we don’t associate with work or home responsibilities. But you can establish a place at home that’s used just for relaxing and in time your mind can start to associate that place with a calm, tranquil mindset.

The exact nature of your relaxation space depends on your resources and preferences. You may have a backyard or room to devote to relaxing, or you may only have extra floor space. But whether it’s a garden patio, relaxation room or beanbag chair next to your bookshelf, you can designate a certain space at home for relaxation.

To help boost the relaxation vibe in that space, consider repainting calming colors on the walls, listening to tranquil sounds (relaxing music) or adding accessories such as plants or Zen sand gardens. You can also try to remove anything from that space that stresses you out – like phones, mail and other stressors.

3. Hire a Pro

Massages, spa days and yoga classes are just a few examples of services that can help you relax. Sure, a trip to the spa may be a seen as an unnecessary extravagance, but it is likely less expensive than a vacation and could be worth the investment. After all, relaxation professionals can help you recharge and refresh. If this is outside of your budget, there are less expensive alternatives you could consider, too, like finding free yoga instruction videos online or soaking in your tub at home instead of at the spa.

4. Revisit Your Own City

Relaxation doesn’t all have to take place within your home. In fact, you can reacquaint yourself with your own neighborhood. Whether you’re in the city, country or somewhere in between, your region should have some great attractions you may not have checked out before (or perhaps it’s just been a while). Try approaching your area from the perspective of a tourist: What would you recommend they try if they were visiting your area?

Whether it’s hiking, museums or fine dining, you can get a vacation-level experience by discovering (or rediscovering) the best your town has to offer. You could develop a new appreciation for your region and find new places to explore and enjoy to boot.

No matter how you decide to relax, whether through yoga, a zen garden or something else, it’s a good idea you don’t overspend — after all, you don’t want to find a good relaxation tool just to find out it’s landed you in credit card debt. To help you stay on the right track, consider using this free tool to see how your spending is affecting your financial goals, like maintaining a good credit score.

Image: m-imagephotography

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5 Ways to Have Fun on a Budget This Memorial Day Weekend


Are you planning to splurge on an elaborate vacation this Memorial Day? Well, think twice! There are other ways you can enjoy a three-day weekend without breaking your budget.

Memorial Day is a time to celebrate America and get together with family. You probably don’t want to wake up Tuesday morning feeling financial regret after checking your bank account. Here are some Memorial Day weekend activities that are fun and affordable.

1. Attend a Local Event

There is a good chance some kind of activity is going on near you during Memorial Day Weekend. Whether it be a carnival, street fair or a beach BBQ, these events are usually complimentary or at a low cost and can be fun. Consider checking your newspaper or local listing for events nearby. If you can’t find anything, ask around — friends and family may know of private events going on near you.

2. Take a Personal Trip

Consider using Memorial Day Weekend as an excuse to get away — on your own. Taking a day trip or a hike by yourself can be a frugal way to de-stress. You may have had a lot going on at work or simply need an excuse to get away. Instead of spending a lot of money on travel, consider looking up fun places that are only a couple hours away. Don’t forget to pack your backpack with a meal and supplies. Enjoy a few days of hiking, fishing, exploring and getting to know yourself a little bit better. (And, if you have a credit card that rewards on spending or travel purchases, consider using it for any travel expenses you do incur — and then paying that balance off in full on-time.)

3. Host a Family Beach Party

Memorial Day weekend is the start of beach season, so why not take advantage of it! If you live near a beach, consider hosting your own beach party. You may want to start a Facebook group or group text to let your friends know ahead of time. This can be a way to get friends and family together without going over budget. If the weather isn’t warm enough for the water, consider having a picnic on the beach. Have your friends and family bring their own food and drinks to help you stay within budget.

4. Hold a DIY Sports Gathering

Instead of having your traditional Memorial Day BBQ, why not hold a Do-It-Yourself sports gathering at your home! This event can be well within budget and a fun alternative to enjoy your three-day vacation. You might want to consider planning ahead for this. Invite family and friends over and make it BYOF (bring your own food) to help you save money. Consider playing flag football or soccer, depending on how big your backyard is. If your backyard is on the smaller side, then you may want to have family bring games like KanJam, Cornhole or Bocce Ball. The more games the better!

5. Have a Staycation

Have you explored everything there is in your town? Memorial Day weekend can be a great time to get to know your hometown a little bit better. You may want to check frugal apps to help you find great deals and tourist attractions nearby. If nothing interests you, sit back relax and enjoy this three-day weekend at home. You may even want to use this time to catch up on some reading or writing. Whatever you do, enjoy it — the three days will be over before you know it!

[Editor’s Note: You can monitor your financial goals, like building a good credit score, each month on Credit.com.]

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Image: Lise Gagne

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